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Lebel-sur-Quévillon, Que., evacuated again as wildfires approach town

The residents of Lebel-sur-Quévillon, the town in northern Quebec that was already once evacuated due to the threat of a wildfire, once again have to leave their homes. 

Mayor warns flames are moving toward the town.

Lake with smoky forest in background

The town of Lebel-sur-Quévillon, in northern Quebec, has ordered a mandatory evacuation because of the threat of a nearby wildfire.

The is the second time that the 2,000 residents have had to leave their homes in the last few weeks.

The town announced the evacuation order on its website on Thursday afternoon.

Hot, dry conditions added fuel to a number of wildfires that were burning near the town and remained out of control despite the efforts of Quebec’s forest fire fighting agency, SOPFEU.

The fire cut off one of the access roads leading to the town, Highway 113 north, Mayor Guy Lafrenière told Lebel-sur-Quévillon residents during an emergency news conference.

That left just the southern road out, Highway 113 south, for residents to use to get out of the area.

Residents should leave their homes and take the 113 south to Val-d’Or and meet at the Centre Multisport Fournier at 125 Self St. The SPCA will be available to take care of pets.

Those without a means to leave should go to the Provigo grocery store at 53 Quévillon Place, where transportation will begin to leave at 5 p.m., with a final departure at 6 p.m.

“Unfortunately we tried to tough it out part of the week but unfortunately we have to leave,” Lafrenière said.

About 900 residents of the town had already left because heavy smoke from the nearby fire was blanketing the town.

A woman with a mic and a flag.

Earlier today, Julie Coupal, the assistant general manager SOPFEU, told reporters in Quebec City that the weather is making it harder to maintain control over fires that had previously been contained. Since the start of the week, four fires that had been contained were out of control again, she added.

“Of course, there’s the risk of new fires breaking out, which is also serious,” she said. “The large amount of smoke can make tanker plane operations difficult, that was the case for the last two days.”

Katia Petit, a senior Quebec civil security official, said no communities or essential infrastructure are immediately threatened by flames, but she added that heavy smoke has prompted voluntary evacuations in some municipalities.

Government increases compensation tied to evacuations

This afternoon, Public Security Minister François Bonnardel announced that the $1,500 compensation per household has been modified.

It will now be $1,500 per household for each time an evacuation order for their area is issued by authorities.

“Given the current forest fire situation, we have to unfortunately plan for situations where certain residents will have to vacate their home more than once,” said Bonnardel in a statement.

“That’s why we are taking action to support Quebecers by adapting our program to the exception circumstances we are living through.”

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